Introducing Graeme, who has just bought a Shatchback. Here’s his story so far…
There are (according to the internet) over 4,800 species of frog. They basically live anywhere in the world apart from the very hottest and the very coldest areas.
There is, however, one very special frog. And that’s the frog which apparently lives inside my BMW.
As I pootled up the dual carriageway from my house and into town, the 7 Series proudly bonged and declared ‘ENGINE FAILSAFE FROG’. (Pootled is a proper PetrolBlog word – ed)
Some might say this has something to do with the 13-year-old display missing a pixel or two, because PROG would be a more likely word, especially given that the engine immediately went into limp home mode.
This was just one of the many problems I encountered whilst living with the big old barge. It had been terribly flakey ever since I got it. Many owners and many miles had not been kind.
The errant frog was the final straw. No longer could I justify the expense of constantly replacing parts. The ‘frog’ was cured with a cam sensor – naturally it had to be a genuine BMW part as others just wouldn’t cut it. That’ll be £99, sir. Ribbit.
I needed something new.
I had been looking at diesel-engined Peugeots for a while when a friend pointed me towards his cousin. He happened to be a Jaguar mechanic who had recently bought a diesel 306 saloon (read Shatchback) to run alongside his Porsche 924, but was, having relied on classic car policies for many years, struggling to insure it.
The planets were aligning. He needed to shift his Shatch and I wanted to buy it. I arranged a viewing, but by the time I got to see it, it was already dark. Fortunately I had already built up an element of trust for the seller, so we agreed a price equal to three and a half cam sensors and I became the proud owner of the filthiest car I’ve ever bought.
It all looked pretty cosmetic. A sun-ravaged paint lacquer and an interior which hadn’t been cleaned since before the millennium bug failed to rear its ugly head. But I jumped in, turned the key, waited for the glow plug light to extinguish (how long has it been since anybody did that in today’s modern world?) and grumbled off into the night. (Grumbled – that’s another excellent PetrolBlog word – ed).
That was a week or so ago and I’ve since spent a good four hours and several microfibres cleaning the interior. The exterior I’m really not bothered about – this car is something I’m using to get me through a sticky patch – basic transportation while I recover financially from the 7 Series.
However, it’s already becoming much more than that. Being the fourth owner – two of which were mechanics – and knowing my way around an engine bay, the car just feels sorted. It’s the complete opposite of the 7 Series – unassuming and crusty on the outside, but underneath its solid and purrs along as rapidly as it needs to.
From finding a car through necessity, I’ve found myself looking forward to the next few months in my Shatchback.